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Hunt saboteurs' cars are targeted by BSV thugs. Photo by North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs

Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt men arrested after attacks on sabs

Dorset Police Rural Crime Team has arrested two men associated with the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale (BSV) Hunt. The arrests come after a number of attacks on hunt saboteurs.

The police stated:

“After a detailed investigation into reports of assault and thefts at the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale hunt; we can now confirm that we have charged two people. Dorset Police received a report on Tuesday 26th September 2023 that a person had been assaulted and equipment stolen in the area of Load Lane, Hilfield. A 33 year old male from the Colehill area has been charged with a theft and and assault.
Dorset Police received another report on Tuesday 3rd October 2023 that a person had been assaulted, another had equipment stolen and a further person was the victim of an attempted theft in the area of Great Head lane, Dorchester. A 33 year old male from the Colehill area has been charged with a theft. A 34 year old male from the Poole area has been charged with an assault and an attempt theft.”
The two men are due to appear at Weymouth Magistrates Court on 16 February 2024. They have been given bail on condition they do not attend any hunt-related activity.

‘String of offences’

North Dorset Hunt Saboteurs stated that it is the “first charges from a string of offences by the BSV.” The sabs are highly successful at stopping the BSV from murdering foxes. As a consequence, they are feeling the hunt’s full wrath.In October 2023 we reported on one of the incidents, when two sabs were targeted.

At the time North Dorset Sabs wrote:

“two female sabs were attacked by three masked men. Their cameras were stolen and they were pushed and shoved. Several 999 calls were made but Dorset Police Rural Crime Team made no effort to attend.”
And then just days after that, sabs’ homes were targeted, as well as their car windows smashed and tyres slashed. Writing about the attacks on their members, the sabs said in October:

“It seems that after six weeks of being constantly sabbed, the masters of the BSV are feeling the pressure and have ordered violence, robbery and criminal damage as an acceptable form of damage limitation.”

Violence is second nature to hunts

The BSV isn’t the only hunt resorting to drastic measures in their attempts to continue murdering wildlife unseen. Just a few days ago, we reported on how the Cottesmore Hunt has hired thugs to attack hunt saboteurs. The men threw female sabs to the ground and slammed their faces into the mud. One saboteur was also dragged across the ground.

And we have written numerous other times of hunt monitors being attacked by iron bars and ball bearings, of saboteurs being hit by cars and quad bikes, and of saboteurs being trampled by hunters’ horses.
  • Northants Hunt Saboteurs. A member was hit by a car during a Cottesmore Hunt meet on 25 October 2022.
  • Weymouth Animal Rights. A monitor was hit around the head with an iron bar and left for dead while monitoring the South Dorset Hunt on 20 December 2022.
  • Devon County Hunt Saboteurs. A sab was hit by a quad bike on Boxing Day 2022. It happened during a meet of the Eggesford Hunt.
  • Cheshire Monitors. A volunteer was charged at by former huntsman Chris Woodward on his horse on 7 January 2023.
  • An independent monitor. He was attacked by supporters of the South Dorset Hunt, who shot him with a ball bearing, fired from a catapult, in January 2023.
  • Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs. A member was trampled by Cottesmore huntsman Sam Jones on his horse on 14 February 2023.

 

The police must step up

If serious assaults like this took place in town centres the police would be out in force immediately. While it is encouraging to see Dorset Police Rural Crime Team finally taking action against the BSV, we all know that if it were hunt saboteurs using violence against hunt supporters the police would crack down and make arrests in an instant.

The law must be even-handed at all times. Far too often it seems that police forces are focused on pro-wildlife activists while apparently being unable to see the assaults, traffic offences, and Hunting Act breaches being committed right in front of them by hunts.

As we see more and more hunt saboteurs and monitors being attacked across the country, it is essential that magistrates take such assaults seriously. If hunt members and their supporters know that they can get away with their violence with impunity, who knows what more they will be capable of in 2024.

North Dorset Hunt Sabs are bearing the brunt of the BSV Hunt’s anger. Support the sabs by donating here if you can.

  • Featured image via North Dorset Hunt Sabs